#amwriting

The pilot episode you need to make the leap from tv online to a tv program

To make the leap from tv online to a tv program on cable or Netflix/Amazon, you need a few things. One of them is a script for the first or ‘pilot’ episode.

On my watch, ‘improving’ the script for the pilot episode had ballooned it up to a bloated mess. Luckily, I have brilliant co-writers In William M. Hoffman and Mr. Green. But we could never all be in the same place at the same time, so they each gave/sent me notes when they could and with them sliced the script down to a svelte two-thirds of its former self.

For the past week, I’ve been at my desk trying to build it back up to the half-hour length it's supposed to be, which is why I don’t have stories for you tonight of being back out there “knocking em dead” with my pitch.

You can be grateful that I’m not including a picture of the experience, me bent over my desk, the tearful, blotchy face, the used kleenex littering the desk and floor. This writer-in-action is neither glamourous or exciting to look at.

Instead, here’s a picture from after today’s story conference, confidence in life and self restored. Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Green and I sat around a table at a diner and although they made recommendations for more slashing and clarifying ... there was much more. We howled with laughter, we whispered so people at the next booth wouldn't be able to hear. I got so excited, I knocked over a pitcher of milk which Mr. Green and Mr. Hoffman mopped up sort of the way they mop up my 'structural issues' (they never call them that) never mentioning what they're doing and all without breaking stride in their brainstorming.

I'm being guided by two angels.

(Just below the photograph is a late Valentine's Day present from me to you if you click the Like button ...  And if you want to Share this, please just hit the 'Share' button right next door. Thank you!  \o/ )

Go Big or Go Bust: Day 127 (on Nell Zink, my new hero)

In spite of reams of examples to the contrary, I can't seem to shake the thought that everyone worth their salt is successfully breaking out and going viral.

But then I recently read a jaw-droppingly bizarre and wonderful article, Kathryn Schulz's New Yorker profile of the writer Nell Zink. For an under-the-radar artist of-a-certain-age like me, Zink's story is ... uhh ... 'the breath of life' wouldn't be too strong a term. 

To give you an idea why I'm so bowled over, Ms. Zink (age 50) an American living outside of Berlin, has spent her life (until very recently) writing for an audience of one or zero. And apparently, she may be one of the great living writers. Only by a crazy twist of fate, Jonathan Franzen came to discover and champion her work.

Laura Zink                                                                                       photograph by Gareth McConnell

Laura Zink                                                                                       photograph by Gareth McConnell

In the New Yorker article, Franzen essentially admits that the New York world of publishing is a closed circle of people who know the right people. Or maybe Zink says that and Franzen agrees.  Whatever. The point is that Nell Zink has spent decades shying away from/thumbing her nose at gatekeepers everywhere while continuing to do her work. A reaffirming secondary point is the insider acknowledgment (by Franzen) that closed circles of gatekeepers are a fact of life. The corollary to that is obviously that being an outsider is no judgement whatsoever of the value of one's work. During one of their meetings, New Yorker writer Schulz notices a single futon mattress on the floor in the room and suddenly grasps the reality of Zink's outsider-artist situation. I wanted to leap through the pages of the magazine shouting "MY HERO!"

Now we can add Zink's name to a growing list with the author Edith Pearlman who, at 79, is

finally getting widely recognized and a whole roster of women artists in their 70's, 80's and 90's recently featured in The TImes strictly because they're not as well known as they should be.

TOP ROW: Carmen Herrera  |  Agnes Denes  |  Dorothea Rockburne  |  Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian  |  Lorraine O'Grady  BOTTOM ROW: Etel Adnan  | Joan Semmel |  Faith Ringold  |  Judith Bernstein |  Michelle Stuart  |  Rosalyn Drexler      

TOP ROW: Carmen Herrera  |  Agnes Denes  |  Dorothea Rockburne  |  Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian  |  Lorraine O'Grady  BOTTOM ROW: Etel Adnan  | Joan Semmel |  Faith Ringold  |  Judith Bernstein |  Michelle Stuart  |  Rosalyn Drexler      

I'm not going to use any of this as an excuse to throw in the towel with my 'go big' campaign, but I am going to feel a lot more relaxed doing it.  And as we know from the example of our Kiwi friends, relaxed = sexy.